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Archive for the ‘1:1’ Category

gorillaRecently, someone at our agency did a Google search for “atlanta ad agencies”, and in his words:

“..right there amongst all us creative wizards, a prominent listing for an ad agency offering the latest breakthrough in marketing today.  Taa daa…sign spinners.  Just contact them and they’ll send out a guy in a gorilla suit to stand in front of your store and spin your message on a propeller-esque sign while occasionally lunging at passing cars.”

That raises the question, how is most advertising different than a guy in a gorilla suit holding a spinning sign that says “Buy Stuff at Main Street Mattress Warehouse?”

It isn’t.

Well, superficially it is. Yes, the gorilla might actually be Danica Patrick and the spinning sign may be the $100k 3D graphic of your logo that dances on the screen 25 seconds into your 30-second TV spot. But it is still lunging at passing traffic, trying to attract attention, just like the guy in the gorilla suit. Which is not very encouraging, when you think about it.

So I say, let’s stop spending so much effort lunging at passing traffic.

Let’s stop jumping up and down on the sidelines, waving our arms, trying to be noticed. Let’s stop spending so much time trying to interrupt people with things that, with very few exceptions, they really don’t care about.

Instead, let’s, as an industry of both brands and their agencies, be more like Bob, the helpful guy who works in Main Street Mattress Warehouse. The one who walks up and politely introduces himself when he sees a chance, not when you are talking to your husband. The guy who takes the time to explain the REAL differences between your product and the others. The one who tells you a bit about himself and the asks you about your needs, what would work best for you. The one who will listen to your complaints when there is a problem, and then work hard to fix them. And the one who gives you some valuable extra advice about getting a good night sleep, along with a free mattress-fluffer.

Will you know about Bob, the helpful, likable salesman in the Main Street Mattress Warehouse when you are driving down the road, chatting with friends in the car on your way to Starbucks? No. But you won’t care then anyway - you’re doing something else and thinking about something else.

Instead, you’ll hear about Main Street Mattress Warehouse when your friends who have been there and met Bob, or who have friends who have met Bob, tweet about the experience and talk about their great new mattress on Facebook, as well as in person. You’ll know that people who you know will be shopping there when you see it on Foursquare. Google searches will not only tell you where the store is, but, more importantly will show you all the people like you who have reviewed their great experience there talking to Bob and how much they love their new mattress, which they bought because Bob was such a genuine, helpful guy. And of course, they’ll tell you about the great, free mattress fluffer that they got just for stopping by, no sale required.

Yes, Main Street Mattress Warehouse still needs a sign out front, ads to tell people where they are, etc. But, given the choice, would you rather be the guy in the gorilla suit lunging at traffic as it tries to avoid him, or do you want to be Bob, who forms even a brief relationship with the people who visit the store?

The world needs both, I guess. But what type of brand do you want to be? What type of agency do you want to be?

Ken Johns recently wrote an article for MediaPost’s “Marketing Tools: CRM” series.  What follows below is the full article, however if you’d like to view or comment on the MediaPost article you can view that here: http://bit.ly/hqKvEy

Has retargeting grown up? A funny thing happened on the road to preparation for the “Targeting the Retargeters” panel I moderated at OMMA Behavioral two weeks ago. I learned that our behavior as marketers really hasn’t changed. With the advent of new and evolving ways of reaching specific people with specific messages, our ability to fine-tune our messaging has increased tremendously. However, I’m not sure we really know what to do with it just yet. One person jokingly and appropriately commented in the Twitter feed during the panel discussion that, based on the number of people wearing suits in the room, behavioral marketing must have grown up. (Now, that’s good stuff.) To some degree I agree, but I stress, only to some degree.

media-post-ken-johns_retargeting1 (more…)

Digital is a giftRecently, in a meeting, a senior executive client of mine said something a little unexpected.

“Digital is a gift,” he said.

He went on to say that digital now allows marketers like him and the brands that he manages to break out beyond the same, standard tactics that have been employed year after year, and instead provides unprecedented opportunities to truly connect with consumers.

Digital is a gift. I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard it phrased so succinctly, or so perfectly. But that is a great way to look at it.

Digital is a gift because of the potential it delivers to form closer ties with our consumers beyond what traditional marketing tactics, or at times even our products, can develop.

Digital is a gift because of the creative opportunities that it provides. There are so many new forms that our message can take today that never existed before. It opens the door to a wide and ever changing array of creative solutions to the challenges of promoting our brands.

Digital is a gift because it allows people to seek out our brands whenever and wherever they are.

Digital is a gift in the way it allows people to become vocal advocates of our brands, sharing their experiences with friends and strangers alike. It provides an easy path from purchaser to influencer – who themselves can spread word of your brand to dozens, hundrends or even thousands.

Digital is a gift because it keeps us honest. It has shifted to power from the advertiser to the consumer, and the consumer isn’t afraid to call us out very directly and very publically when we let them down – and they have the tools to do it. So it helps keep us focused on better advertising, better marketing, better service, and better business practices overall.

And digital is a gift because it gives us as the opportunity as professionals to continue to learn, explore, experiment and improve our craft. It can be daunting, and sometimes exhausting, but the ever-changing shape of digital requires that we remain perpetual students of ways people use technology and the tools and methods at our disposal to reach them. And we should feel fortunate for that, because, to paraphrase my client, we don’t want to spend the rest of our careers doing the same old thing campaign after campaign, do we?

I like shopping at REI. And not just because I’m a gear hound. I like shopping there because it’s obvious that the people working at the stores are actually involved with outdoor recreation themselves. They like the same things that I like as a fellow outdoor enthusiast, and it shows. When I ask a question at REI - about products or even places to backpack and explore - I don’t feel like I’m talking to a salesperson. I feel like I’m asking for advice from a fellow outdoors enthusiast.

And that’s what REI really gets right, in my mind. They aren’t simply serving, or selling to, the outdoor community. In large part because of the people that they hire, they are part of the outdoor community. That makes me trust them, and keeps bringing me back to the brand rather than just buying from online discount retailers.

The North Face gives me a similar experience, but they do it through Twitter. Following @thenorthface doesn’t seem like following a corporate marketing voice. It feels like, you guessed it, just another member of the outdoor community. Sure there are product plugs and brand-related news in the stream of posts. But there are also lots of tweets about recent outdoor recreation news, bits of outdoor adventure trivia and tweets about environmental and ecological issues. All the types of things that outdoor lovers are following, thinking about and talking about themselves.

This is what many brands are missing these day, it seems. They jump into social channels and begin to spout off the same one-way messaging that they have been doing for decades in print and broadcast media. They may be talking to a group of like-minded people, but they really aren’t a part of that group. They just show up to the party and start hocking their wares. It works in some instances, but really, how social is that? And how does it demonstrate to the community, the people that you are trying to influence, that you are one of them, that you understand them, and that you know what they need?

So how is your brand engaging with your audience these days? Have you truly joined the communities to which your audience belong, or are you just treating them like an advertising channel? Give membership and participation a try. I’m sure that the other community members, the ones who you hope will buy your products, would really appreciate the effort.

Ken Johns, Brunner’s VP, Director of 1:1 has just published a great article over at Mediapost.com on using email marketing to reach moms.

Ken discusses findings from research recently conducted by Brunner among more than 400 women with children age 12 and under living in their households. It turns out that even the busiest moms make time to check their email accounts on a regular basis. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nearly 96% of respondents said they check email at least once a day.
  • More than 80% of them actually look forward to checking email.
  • Most important, eight in 10 moms indicated they want to receive offers
    and information from preferred brands via email.

Read the full Mediapost article here for more of Ken’s insights into reaching moms via email, understanding their preferences and establishing personal bonds with this valuable market segment.

Digital ideas to help you sustain attendance (and look smart in the process)

It’s been an unpleasant year for the tradeshow marketer. No one is traveling (ouch) and attendance levels have dwindled as a result. Nice knowin’ ya, Vegas boondoggle.

In response, tradeshow marketers are scrambling to find new ways to reach members, buyers, prospects and exhibitors. Some have even have migrated their content entirely online (cool!). But let’s face it. There’s no replacement for the personal interaction that occurs on the tradeshow floor or at the hotel bar.

EDITORS NOTE:  There’s one shining star in the virtual tradeshow world. TED does a wonderful job of making you feel like you’re really there. But don’t overlook that TED, at its core, is still an in-person show.

What follows is a quick reference guide on tradeshow tactics for the digital age. CAVEAT: Strategy comes before tactics (but that’s not the promise of this post). (more…)

How many store catalogs did you get in the mail this holiday season?  At home, I had a pile about two feet high-with about 75 or more catalogs from brick and mortar shops such as Brookstone, Eddie Bauer, L.L. Bean, Victoria’s Secret and online/direct mail only brands such as Harry & David, Catalog Favorites, Solutions, Red Envelope, etc.   At work, I had a pile of about 14 from the same brands AND from obscure “how did they get my name” places like Fairytale Brownies.

I reluctantly admit that I read through every single one of those catalogs-I circled items, I compared costs on like objects, and the content became reading material of wishful thinking for me after getting home from a hard day’s work.  I actually enjoyed the time I put aside to look at the mail order catalogs after my son was in bed and my husband was absorbed in the local hockey game.  I’m a busy mom so this downtime, in an effort to not feel unproductive, became “necessary preparatory work” for the holidays.

But what was illuminating to me was that my purchasing behavior only extended down two pathways.  The first was that I ordered online for only a few purchases that I had picked out for gifts from the catalogs.  The second was that I remembered and/or noted specials on my Blackberry memo pad when I was actually in stores where I could handle the items tactiley.  Not once did I reach for a phone to call in my order.  And as strong as my wishful thinking was, it did not translate into actual purchases for many of what I would have bought had I had more money to spend.

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